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October 30, 2009

Floyd Eco-Fair and Market Dedication

pm2a.gif~The following was published in The Floyd Press on October 29, 2009 along with a photo spread (these and others). It also appears on the Press's online site HERE.

Under unexpected blue skies, a banner crowd turned out for the first annual SplitRail Eco-Fair on Saturday, October 24th. "It's a miracle," one of the organizers said, referring to the forecasted rainy weather that didn't happen.

Hosted by SustainFloyd, a citizen's group promoting sustainable local economy, the Eco-Fair was timed with the International Day of Climate Action, 4ritast7.gifa day of worldwide rallies and events calling for grassroots actions and bold leadership on climate change issues.

The Eco-Fair featured environmentally friendly crafts and businesses; educational exhibits on land use, alternative energy, and holistic health; martial arts and dance demonstrations; local baked goods; locally grown produce; musical entertainment; live theater; and a dedication to the new Floyd Community Market where the celebration of Floyd's sounds, tastes, and talents was held. 2woo3.gif

Floyd Country Store owner and developer of the Community Market, Woody Crenshaw (left) gave the dedication address for the 3,000 square foot pavilion, which will be used for weekday parking and for selling local produce, crafts, and artwork on weekends. Saying, "This wasn't here three weeks ago," Crenshaw thanked the Professional Builders crew who constructed the structure in short order, along with the project's supporters and volunteers. The Station (the adjacent newly renovated building) investors, Healing Harvest Forest Foundation, Streamline Timberworks, Wills Ridge Supply, Turman Lumber, and participating musicians - all of whom donated materials, services, and support - were also recognized. 11efsppof.gif

"It takes a dedicated group of private investors who care about this community and a helpful local government," Crenshaw said about the latest in Floyd's downtown renewal.

Recalling the words of best-selling environmental author Bill McKibben, who spoke at the Country Store in May, Crenshaw reiterated that the development of Floyd's unique local assets is what makes the community sustainable, adding, "We can't know how we are affecting the future, but we know if nothing is done - if there is no intention or vision - we kind of know what's going to happen." row75.gif

Following Crenshaw's address, SustainFloyd member and Eco-Fair organizer Haden Polseno-Hensley led fair-goers in a dedication that involved the celebratory synchronized eating of local grown apples. ~ Colleen Redman

Photos: 1. The new Floyd Community Market filled with activity for first annual SplitRail Eco-Fair. 2. Rita Brown was one of the volunteers who staffed the vendor sign-up booth where SplitRail Eco-Fair commemorative T-shirts were sold. The organic cotton shirts were from Floyd's Green Label Organic Sustainable Threads. The SustainFloyd painting pictured behind Brown was done by local artist Laurelsong Cook. hade1.gif 3. Local business developer and SustainFloyd founding member, Woody Crenshaw said the market was an investment in Floyd's future. 4. The Young Actors Coop (YAC) presented original theater to an overflow crowd. The zany YAC play with a message about global warming was well received by the audience, whose members frequently erupted in laugher. 5. Decked out in a year's worth of plastic bags, the Plastic Bag Monster (Rowan Chantal) drew attention from fair-goers of all ages. 6. SustainFloyd fair organizer and one of the builders of the Floyd Community Market, Haden Poleseno-Hensley led SplitRail Eco-Fair goers in a dedication that involved eating local grown apples.

Video clips of the YAC play are HERE and HERE. Scroll HERE for more Floyd Press stories.

October 29, 2009

13: Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble

bagmoms13t.gif 1. Today's 13 Thursday all started because I did some google research after hearing about a Russian poet who was imprisoned for being a dissident and carved poetry in bars of soap and then memorized the poems before using the soap for washing.

2. I also just learned that they now make catchable, stackable, almost unbreakable, and edible bubbles. I'll be stopping at a toy store soon.

4. While searching for "dissident poet and soap" I discovered a poetry site called "Soap Boxing," and a site called "Explaining the mystical poetry with soap and dirt" by Rumi.

5. My husband Joe once covered himself in bubble wrap to be "package man" for Halloween. I insisted that he did it for the attention of all the pretty girls who came up to pop him.

6. That's my friend Rowan in the picture above as the Floyd Eco-Fair plastic bag monster. He's very gregarious and had kids following him around, which prompted me to call him The Pied Piper of Plastic. Later I heard another friend who saw him in Monster drag said, "That's the cutest white trash I've ever seen!"

7. On a more serious note, the back of Rowan's sign read, "One year one, one shopper, 500 bags." Use reusable!

8. His functional moonshine jugs, hand painted with Southwest Virginia motifs of hounds, raccoons, rabbits, and cocks, reflect the influence of his country upbringing. His dramatic and sometimes disturbing sculptures are inspired by ancient Chinese bronze tea ceremony jars and explore themes of religion, politics, and eroticism. ~ excerpt I wrote for potter Joey Jones web page. Read the rest and view Joey's work HERE.

9. I've never been afraid to eat something with a fork or spoon after it falls on the floor because I grow my own vegetables and I know where potatoes come from.

10. A few days ago I got a phone call from Joe after his month long silent meditation retreat ended. He was at the ocean and wanted me to hear the surf, so I sat holding the white phone receiver like a conch shell with an ocean roar inside.

11. Moon Peace: The moon is a mutiny ... a one bubble revolution ... escape from the sky-sea ... of sudsy clouds ... It floats across the heavens ... like a flower child pagan ... in peaceful demonstration ... against the status quo.

12. My only other post about bubbles is HERE.

13. Better than popping bubble wrap HERE.

POP on over to the 13 Thursday headquarters HERE.

October 28, 2009

Here He Comes There He Goes

Here he comes here he comes here he comes! There he goes there he goes there he goes! Watch HERE.

October 27, 2009

Night Altar

Sun's gold silver-polished
Black Madonna's holy chalice
A ceremonial grail of moon
perceived half empty
or believed half full

October 26, 2009

Woods and Water

She's at home in the woods and needed to be near water before winter sets in.
Although, we didn't hike all the way to the Cascades waterfall, we were uplifted by the natural setting, made giddy by the rushing water, and humbled by the randomly placed giant boulders.
Our conversations on life and death ebbed and flowed as walked, picking up leaves and looking up to see which trees they fell from.
I was excited by the fungi growing on an old log. She had me take photos of the pools and creek stones so that she could sketch them later.
At the Inn at Riverbend, where we spent the night, the dog Jackson sniffed around my pocketbook for the egg roll I had stashed from lunch, while the inn host showed her the view from the back deck.
The view was impressive, overlooking the New River. We were continually entertained by trains running on either side of it and the sound of their whistles.
We watched mockingbirds, chickadees, and cardinals. I picked out a favorite tree and watched the shadow it cast on the open field.
Sun, rain, wind, a moon but no stars all brought a sense of peace as we took in the wide canvas of sky from the deck outside our room.

Note: See more of the Riverbend view and hear a train whistle HERE.

October 24, 2009

My House Looks Good Enough to Eat

In the fall, our house and yard and the woods that surround them are colored coordinated. Everything looks good enough to eat, like a warm bowl of mashed carrots, Yukon gold potatoes, cranberry sauce, and butternut squash. Fallen leaves cover the open acre of green grass like candy corn. Poplar, oak, and maple trees catch light and spread it.
Inside, I take down the screens and wash all the windows so I can enjoy the low slung sun that pours in like tupelo honey. Picking up the flavors of the scene outside, sunlight butters the yellow pine cabin logs, spills onto the burnt orange carpet, and turns up the volume of color. Like a gingerbread cottage of autumn, our house looks good enough to eat.

October 23, 2009

Community Photo with a Purpose

lkgr.gif~ The following appeared in The Floyd Press on October 15, 2009. The SustainFloyd Eco-Fair mentioned in the story will take place in downtown Floyd tomorrow.

The fall foliage made for a scenic drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Nancy P. Morrisette parking lot for a community photo shoot with a purpose. Carpooling was encouraged for the 350 event, an internationally coordinated action initiated by environmental author Bill McKibben to bring awareness to global warming and to influence climate change policy.

The number 350, which was prominently placed in the photo, refers to the number of parts per million that scientists say we need to lower atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels to sustain life as we know it on the planet. Global warming is happening faster than first predicted, as evidenced by the melting of the Artic, and lowering carbon dioxide levels is necessary to curb its catastrophic affect, McKibben's website, 350.org, reports. lk7.gif

About 120, many donned in "go green" colors and some in raincoats to ward off morning drizzle, gathered in the field that is used annually as offsite Floydfest parking. Hot coffee was served under a green tent by volunteer members of Sustainfloyd, the local citizen group that organized the event. Musical entertainment, provided from a FloydFest stage by John and Linda Franklin, was amplified by charged solar cells. Luke Staengl, who has been in the renewable energy business for that past 30 years and at one time headed up an ethanol plant in Floyd, was the guest speaker.

"We need to send this message to all the leaders of the world to start pushing for conservation and renewable energy," Staengl urged. He explained how those promoting renewable energy have been doing it alone. "It would make it easier if the government got more involved and even easier if the world governments got involved," he continued.
"We need to make it a high priority, higher than defense or populating Mars," Staengl said about promoting alternative energy sources to lower CO2 levels. He recommended that every home have a solar array and pointed out how much energy could be saved if lights were turned off at night. "Why are we lighting the planet at night? Why are we so afraid of the dark?"

Following Staengl's address, men, women, children, and a few family dogs enthusiastically paraded up a grassy incline to pose in front of Buffalo Mountain as photographer Doug Thompson waited by his tripod, ready to record the action. Although the tip of the mountain had disappeared under cloud cover, the composition was impressive. It will be linked with other action photos from 150 countries around the world and sent to the United Nations, making a visual petition in time for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.

The nearly five foot 350 sign came in three parts and was handmade by papermaker Gibby Waitzkin and her apprentices. Painted blue in Waitzkin's environmentally green studio, it was constructed of cardboard made of recyclable materials. "Making the pattern was the hard part, once we got that down, we zipped through it with a sawzall," Waitzkin said.350z.gif

After the photo shoot, the sign was loaded in the back of truck, headed for Blue Mountain School, where it will be used at their Go-Green Electricity Free Day to be held on October 13th. The solar powered sound system will also be used at Blue Mountain for the day of activities that will include a worm farm, making trash sculpture, a demonstration of the life of coal, musical entertainment, and a school 350 Action photo. "It's available for anyone that wants to do a 350 action," SustainFloyd member and Blue Mountain School parent Sam Steffens said about the sign.

SustainFloyd organizers hope that the sense of community and common purpose present at the 350 photo shoot will carry over to the first annual SplitRail Eco-Fair, a celebration of sustainable rural living planned to take place downtown at the new Community Market Pavilion on October 24th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. With nearly 40 vendors, local produce, environmental education, musical entertainment, and a live original performance of "An Inconvenient Spoof" by the Young Actors Coop, the free to the public fair promises plenty of activities for the whole family. ~ Colleen Redman blogs daily at Looseleafnotes.com

Note: Video clips of the 350 action photo shoot can be found HERE.

October 22, 2009

The 13 Thursday Sermon

13sky.gif1. On Sunday I went to the Sun Hall to dance to the sweet Grateful Dead tunes of The Kind in a benefit concert to stop mountaintop removal. With friends all around, including a surprise dancing appearance of Ruth, a community elder and one of its best loved matriarch, we raised a lot of energy. At the end of two hours, smiling and sweating, I turned to my friend Jayn and said, "Now this is my kind of Sunday church service."

2. I grow pumpkins because they make me popular with the kids who I give them away to.

3. Speaking of pumpkins my friend Rio is a pumpkin carving artist whose art has been documented by The Roanoke Times HERE.

4. My favorite variation of the sign of the cross I grew up using (In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit), is one from a poem by Emily Dickinson that goes like this: In the name of the bee - and of the butterfly - and of the breeze.

5. I had a dream that my husband Joe (who is really away on a month long silent meditation retreat) was in church. I had a dress on and was arriving to join him late but I had trouble parking. A man who was already parked helped me because I had squeezed in too close to the priest's car, blocking him in. After helping me, the man drove away and I wondered why he hadn't just offered me his space. Then I ran into an old friend on vacation who pleaded with me to come to his family home for a picture and to meet his family. I did and by the time I left there it was too late for going to church.

6. My poetry used to be all about Joe, now my most written about topics are tea, autumn, and the moon.

7. Like this most recent one: The moon is a chalice ... Perceived empty or full ... Sun's gold silver-polished ... Black Madonna's holy grail.

8. I'm only a few degrees more sociable than Emily Dickinson.

9. Unfortunately, since having my blog moved to a new server, my category archive, which is like my own personal writer's filing cabinet, is not displaying, My web hoster will be working on getting it back and will also be adding some google ads to my site so I can afford to pay for his service.

10. Watching Latin Music USA on PBS, I got reintroduced to THIS 1966 song. I didn't know the group "? and the Mysterians" was Latino and the first band considered punk rock, but I knew I loved the song. They played at the Surf in the small little Massachusetts beach town I grew up in. I was working in the coat check at the time and was disappointed to hear them but not be able to dance.

11. Although I never liked the rote rituals of Mass and the feeling of being herded, as a young girl, I was always inspired by the sermons, and after church I wondered why everyone didn't go on to live like the priest preached.

12. Not your average fish story HERE.

13. In the spirit of Halloween, HERE'S a monster mash starring the usual suspects. Can you guess who?

Go forth and multiply 13 Thursday HERE.

October 21, 2009

When Old Habits Fall Away

mplv3.gif Red maple leaves fell from envelopes this autumn, all the way from Massachusetts where Joe has been sitting a month long silent meditation retreat. They spilled out of a letter that I hadn't thought would come because other (shorter) silent retreats he's done have barred writing. I had forgotten how romantic real letter writing can be and how much a person's spirit comes through their written word.

I was heartened to know that the time he is spending on himself has already been beneficial and that he is healing from compulsive habits of the mind and of overextending himself. Here is an excerpt from the letter that isn't too personal to share:

Living in this fluid, flexible flow of days, I feel softened and relaxed to have time - so much time - time out of time - so much so that there is no need to count it or keep track of it. Bells sound invitations for sitting, walking, working, and eating periods. All moments are equal. The root of the practice here is to look at ways your mind relates to whatever you are experiencing. Some we find pleasant and perhaps get hooked - some we find unpleasant and perhaps feel aversion - some we find neutral and perhaps space out to future and past thoughts. It's about continually waking up to the reality of the present experience and noticing what kind of story the mind is telling about it. In this way, previously unconscious habits of reacting with craving or aversion, or spacing out can be examined and deconstructed.

I feel the value of the month. If I were going home today (note: 10 days into the retreat) I would feel new and refreshed in my mind and body, but the habit patterns of my mind still have so much automatic momentum that I feel I would soon be back into my ruts. It's so clear from watching my thoughts how often they jump to new and big historic projects. I get to laugh because there is nothing to do about them but to see them as empty thoughts, habits of thought, passing through like weather systems ...

October 20, 2009


I saw nobody today

But the slip of blue tip of salamander tail
slithered between porch floor slats

I saw nobody

But a misplaced butterfly perched on my knee
It landed on my foot and tickled

I heard nobody today

But the wind stirred the deep mountain song of porch chimes
and glass chimes called me home to the beach

I heard nobody

But a lone bird chirped as leaping fall leaves
spun like ballerinas to the ground

October 19, 2009

Most Blogged Photo-op in Town

Like the rest of Floyd, I've been watching the new Floyd Community Market take shape for weeks now and stopped for the above photo after my friend Rowan (right) hollered down to me from the roof.
A downtown farmer's market and more, built with the goal of supporting local food and commerce, the timber framed pavilion will be dedicated next Saturday at Floyd's first annual SplitRail Eco-Fair in conjunction with 350.org's International Day of Climate Change Action. Doug Thompson at Blue Ridge Muse has photos of the recent barn raising workday and Fragments From Floyd's Fred First has written about the Eco-Fair and the Community Market in a post titled "Celebrating Sustainable Relationships."

October 18, 2009

Anything Goes Poetry and Prose

And sometimes the spoken word is sung. At Cafe del Sol's October Spoken Word Open Mic, Carolyn (Kirby) Romano sang THIS original song. She'll be performing opera with the Kandinsky Trio in a benefit concert for the Jacksonville Center next Saturday at the center.
Young Actor's Co-op's Abraham "Wolf" came from the Maryland Renaissance Faire dressed as a wizard. He and Cameron (who later sang an Irish ballad) are performing an original play, "An Inconvenient Spoof" at next week's first annual SplitRail Eco-Fair, a celebration of sustainable rural living.
Gloria read a story about a pot belly pig named Lorenzo and Stephania (at the mic) read a zany prose piece called No, No, Jo Jo.
I read a new series of short moon poems and some one-liners taken from my blog. "I think I've been avoiding Twitter because it rhymes with fritter, means to talk rapidly about trivial matters, and has the word "twit" in it" got the most laughs. Greg, who acted as emcee, read a seasonal poem and Gannon (pictured) named a new Spoken Word tradition called "not being prepared." After a few adlibs, he said, "I don't know what I'm doing up here" and left.
Jen's mom Kay held her paper as she sang because her hands were shaking. It was a song she heard on the Delilah radio show called Don't Give Up. Her mom later read her hilarious children's story told from the perspective of a dog.
Dr. Sue read a poem about the death of an old boyfriend and Jack, who comes from Norfolk but said he was camping nearby, read a poem about a hot girl chewing a steak bone.

Note: Click and scroll down HERE for more Spoken Word posts.

October 16, 2009

Two Bit

The grass really is greener on the other side of the fence.
And witches scream meaner when it's nearly Halloween.

October 15, 2009

The 13 Thursday Front Row Seat

13pu.gif1. Fall at my house - a pine log cabin surrounded by woods - is like a warm bowl of mashed carrots and Yukon gold potatoes.

2. I had every intention of going to Christiansburg to get my hair cut but learned that my hairdresser is in Italy. Now I'm forced to wash the kitchen floor.

3. My son's girlfriend is in Italy too. I wonder if she'll meet my hairdresser.

4. My kitchen is a slum of slob.

5. The people in THIS video were always finding water all over their pool deck and furniture, every time they came home, after being away for a few hours. They thought the neighborhood kids were watching for them to leave, and using the pool. However, they could never catch them doing it. So, they set up their video cam and left. THIS is what they found out.

6. I really wanted to stick the I in the word verification TRING today, but then I thought maybe someone was too tired to put the I in TIRING and I am too tired to care.

7. As we age, is it our own faces that scare up at Halloween?

8. I went to see the moon for Joe's and my nightly moon date (while he's away on a month long silent meditation retreat). The sky was full of stars but there was no moon in sight, making me think for a moment that maybe the moon had exploded and left glowing pieces of itself all over the sky.

9. After HD TV came and I lost most of my regular channels, I started watching Sex in the City reruns on Fox, which were all new to me. I remember telling Joe that the show wasn't as much about sex as it was about women's friendships and the life of a writer. Then, when I lost the Fox channel too, I decided to keep watching by renting all six seasons of the HBO shows from the video store. Guess what I discovered? The show really is about sex.

10. There's so much hype about the swine flu I feel sick just listening to it. Apparently, now that Dr. Oz has has his own show, he felt obligated to propagate some fear mongering about it and had some experts on touting vaccines, but then later he told Campbell Brown in a TV interview that his own children and wife will not be getting vaccinated. Dr. Oz wisely did not have his children vaccinated for the standard recommended childhood vaccines until after they were 6 months. Some of my views on vaccinations can be found HERE.

11. An earthquake is like the earth having a seizure. A tsunami is like it's throwing up.

12. Bernie Madoff's name should be spelled Bernie "Made off," as in made off with other people's money.

13. New old country names found in newspaper obituaries to add to the list I'm collecting: Women - LaLa, Zama, Lossie, Monnie, Cuma. Men - Hutson, Hoy, Freeman, Ras, and Carlis.

Now turn the channel and see who else is playing 13 Thursday HERE.

October 14, 2009

Farm to School Harvest

1mbftos.gif The following was published in The Floyd Press on October 8, 2009

"I like to get my hands dirty!" shouted one Floyd Elementary School student who was digging potatoes at last week's Farm to School harvest. Another student, when asked if he grew potatoes at home answered, "No, but I kinda want to now."

Those students were part of three fifth grade classes participating in a pilot project event at a field farmed by Five Penny Farm on Shooting Creek Road. Organized by Mike Burton of Moon Indigo Farm, a Community Supported Agriculture farm in Check, the Farm to School harvest was part of a nationwide initiative to incorporate locally grown produce into school lunch programs.


With a goal of supporting local farmers and providing nutritious food to schools without the cost of travel miles, Farm to School has been authorized by Congress as a seed grant program, but has yet to be funded. Burton believes that start-up programs already in place will have a better chance of receiving support when grant funding is appropriated.

According to a recent story in the Washington Post, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that more than 2,000 Farm to School programs are active in about 40 states. "The USDA is supportive but has left it up to school divisions," said the county's school nutrition coordinator, Pam Harris, who attended the potato harvest. Harris first learned about Farm to School through a conference she attended in North Carolina. More recently, she received a memo from the state superintendent requesting that all school divisions do a Farm to School week in November, she reported.

"Does anyone know what makes a potato go green?" Burton asked the group of approximately 60 students. The students learned that there are about 1,000 varieties of potatoes and that some are purple. "Potatoes have been around for 4,000 years. What we're going to be doing today people have been doing for 1,000's of years," Burton shouted from the back of a flatbed trailer, soon be filled with potatoes.

The fifth grade students of Alice Slusher, Alice Harding, and Amanda Morgan were joined by Blue Mountain School's first and second graders who were on a day long field trip geared to learning about food. Together, the children watched a farm intern on a tractor loosen the soil with a digger before they began pulling up potatoes of all sizes and enthusiastically announcing their discoveries. Along with the Kennebec potatoes, an occasional worm, grasshopper and turnip was also found.

In less than an hour baskets and buckets were full. The potatoes were spread out on the flatbed trailer and sorted for best baking size. They will be baked and served in all the county schools, Harris said. Burton noted that as the program grows, more local farmers growing vegetables will be needed.

The students snacked on locally grown apples before boarding the bus and heading back to school. "We hope this is the start of a longstanding and worthwhile project benefiting our children, our farmers and our community," Burton said. ~ Colleen Redman

October 13, 2009

Here Lies Marigolds and Zinnias

We are all like flowers
Cut from the ground we came from

We are all looking out
From the vases we are held in

Named for our family lines by botanists
Hoping our petals will be cherished

We are all flourishing and fading
Giving and taking our seed to the grave

~ Colleen Redman

October 12, 2009

Mountain Flute Song

joh4.gifThis is the time of year when I have to look both ways before pulling out of my little dirt driveway off the Blue Ridge Parkway. As the fall foliage gets brighter, tourist traffic on the normally quiet Parkway gets busy. I live just a few minutes from the Saddle overlook (where Joe and I got married) and spend a lot of time there watching sunsets and moon rises. It's usually quiet, but this time of year I share it with tourists. Even so, I ran into my neighbor John Dancing Crow at the Saddle yesterday afternoon. He was about to hike up to Lover's Leap with his daughter Sierra to play his two chambered drone flute when I asked to hear a song. How lucky am I? We couldn't have planned it better. The song of the flute and the Blue Ridge Mountains seem made for each other. The combination was transcendent.

John is a soapstone carver of Cherokee and Scotch Irish descent. Take a listen to his music HERE. In THIS video clip he talks about the 200 year old song he played to a photographer who stopped to listen.

October 10, 2009

350: The Most Important Number in the World

xgr3502z.gifI followed a car with an Obama bumper sticker down the Blue Ridge Parkway for the 350 Climate Action photo shoot this morning. In the parking lot field, owned by the Chateau Morrisette Winery and used annually by Floydfest, I parked next to a van with a bumper sticker that read "polar bears for global cooling." I knew I was in the right place.

Families donned in green clothing and raincoats to ward off weather related drizzle listened to music and a rally speech amplified by charged solar cells before gathering for the picture that featured a 350 sign almost as tall as me and a view of Buffalo Mountain. Although the top of the mountain disappeared under cloud cover, the composition - which was officially photographed by Doug Thompson and will be sent to 350.org and the United Nations - was still impressive.

What does the number 350 signify and why is it the most important number in the world? (Read HERE.) How was the sign made? What did guest speaker Luke Staengl say to the crowd? Who wore matching mother and daughter green tie dye dresses? And why were there so many dogs in attendance? I'm working on a story for The Floyd Press that will hopefully answer some of those questions. In the meantime, HERE is a short video clip.

October 9, 2009

Poking Fun

So what really happens on Facebook when someone gets poked? And how did we go from this ...
... to this?
Mara started it on our walk on Zephry Farm Wednesday to see the rune marker on Ray's grave that was described in our friend Katherine's story in Moonshine "Appalachian Funeral." We came across some pokeweed berries and she painted her hands. I knew the plant was poisonous but that it was used by Native Americans and in folk remedies for its medicinal properties. Later I learned that the Declaration of Independence was written in fermented pokeberry juice and that many letters written during the Civil War were also in poke.
My grandson Bryce's sister Kaylee (above) thinks Pokeberry should be called Purpleberry and Mara's daughter Kyla thinks the dye is hot pink, while I call it magenta. Pokeweed is my favorite nail polish color. Have you been pinked or poked lately?

October 8, 2009

13 Thursday: To Play or Not To Play


1. This is the time of year when I can't tell the difference between a monarch butterfly on its way to Mexico and falling leaves when they cross my path.

2. Favorite word this week: Shenanigan

3. Last week I went for my scheduled dentist appointment for the dreaded root canal. It felt like I had won the lottery when an x-ray was taken and I was told I didn't need one after all and got sent home. Of course that was all I needed to justify spending $60 at the mall on my way home. Just think of all the money I saved.

4. My overworked mouse arm is also the arm I use to carry my grandson Bryce around and the arm I use to do acupressure reflexology ( like acupuncture except you use your fingers to press points on the body to stimulate healing), so no wonder it's tired and sore.

5. You know the saying "It's Greek to me," I just changed it to "It's Geek to me," meaning I don't have a clue what widgets and modules are.

6. It is widely assumed that Shakespeare introduced more words into English literature than all the other writers of his time combined, over 1,700 by some estimates.

7. Many of his phrases, like wild goose chase, what the dickens, one fell swoop, dead as a doornail, much ado about nothing, etc. are used to this day.

8. British journalist in a red convertible writes about Floyd HERE.

9. When I image google the word "words," I get THIS.

10. Bryce's current favorite words, which he says repeatedly while pointing: DOG and TRUCK.

11. When my son Josh was three years old, he said, "Mum, cats are polite and dogs are mean." He later told me that he thought all cats were girls and all dogs were boys. Kitty was his first word.

12. Speaking of words, I love to play THIS. Test your own vocabulary and leave me your score.

13. All is well that ends well. (Shakespeare said that.)

More playing 13 Thursday HERE.

October 7, 2009


I just want a pair of jeans with no designs on the pockets, ones that aren't bleached or torn to look old, ones that don't hang like saddlebags on my hips, ones that I don't have hem or loosen the waist by moving the button, ones that fall below the waist but don't look like they're falling down. Not too tight or too loose. Not too stiff or too flimsy. I want a pair of jeans that are just right. But I'd settle for a pair that just fits. And at least my jeans don't do this:

October 6, 2009

A Common Thread

parball.gifI drove way out into what seemed like no man's land, to Camp Powhatan in Hiwassee Virginia, on Saturday. I went there to do a story on Camp Treehouse, a day camp hosted by hospice for kids who have recently had a death in their family. I wasn't there for five minutes when a woman who was volunteering as a camp mentor recognized me from my blog, approached me and asked if I was Colleen Redman. As we talked I learned that she lost her mother as a child. We were still talking when another mentor who recognized the first woman's last name on her name tag joined our conversation. It turned out that she used to date an old friend of mine from the Floyd community. She lost her brother when she was young. Not long after that I was surprised to see Sharon, an old friend and one time member of the Floyd woman's circle who is a hospice social worker now. She lost her partner to cancer. Then I met up with the hospice nurse (and member of my meditation group) who first suggested I do the story. She was the only person I expected to know at the camp. Another woman looked familiar. We discovered that she was in the Blacksburg book club that read the book I wrote about losing two of my brothers a month apart, "The Jim and Dan Stories." We met when I was invited to talk to the group.

With so many good people in good service to others, it was easy to make new friends too. I left the camp after lunch so that I could go to the bonfire party in tribute to a dear friend, Wayne, who died last week.

October 5, 2009


saysox2.gifThe reflection that the dialogue circle provides can be utilized as a fast moving current to move participants to the doorway to a transcendent awareness. Dialogue is talk that moves you forward! ~ Judy O'Brien

Therapy or play? A salon or a café? A scientific laboratory or a book club? I don't know what my first Sunday women's dialogue circle is; I just know I like it. The best moment this month was when one woman said, "We need to figure that out," and another woman followed with, "or not." Everyone laughed and breathed a big sigh of relief.

Every month it seems we come so close to solving some of the world's problems and mysteries, but by the time I get home, it's as though the Memorex tape of our dialogue has been erased. I can't remember a thing but I know progress was made. I know we were honest and risked revealing our truest selves. I know I had a good time.

Read more about Dialogue HERE.

October 4, 2009

Play on Gray

1. Too Tired
2. A Heart of Stone
3. A Mug Shot
4. A Blank Check

October 2, 2009

Stood Up

No firewood delivery
No paycheck in the mail
No day off
No free lunch
No matter

His closet door creaks
where summer clothes still hang
The full moon is hidden
in mist

October 1, 2009

The Thirteen Thursday Up Date

jo13col4.jpg1. Last night I swore the moon looked like a Gollum with its eye on the brightest star in the sky.

2. I bet I can make you curse within three minutes. Try THIS.

3. Joe and I have a date to look up at the moon every night at 9 p.m. while he's away at a month long silent meditation retreat in Massachusetts and I'm Home Alone.

4. The photo posted above was taken from my son Josh's collage journal. It features one of my all time favorite photos of him as a boy and gave an early indication of the artist he would become.

5. My favorite part of the collage is the pencil on the blank page that says "This page is intentionally left blank."

6. Josh's favorite part is the four different colored bread ties in the left hand corner.

7. Joe and I hiked to our favorite secret orchard before he left for his month and discovered that our version of the stock market going down means no apples this year in the orchard.


9. Number eight is intentionally left blank.

10. Don't watch THIS while driving, while operating machinery, or trying to type anything sensible at your keyboard.

11. Send THIS to someone you love.

12. Last week I saw a woman shopping in a clown wig. She looked normal in every other way.

13. Another time I saw a woman shopping in her pajamas. I guessed she was sleepwalking on Ambien.

More playing Thirteen Thursday HERE.

If you visit here this evening and find you can't comment it's because my blog is being moved. I'll be holding my breath till then. Read more about it HERE.